September 22nd, 2009 - 4:26 pm § in foreign language, swahili

The Swahili Language

Since one of my friends is doing a semester abroad in Nairobi, I thought I would do a post about the Swahili language. You might already know more than you think. Simba = lion in Swahili. Thank Disney for this one. Uhuru = freedom. Remember that character in Star Trek? (I don’t.) The actress w[...]

September 21st, 2009 - 11:20 am § in etymology, vocabulary, word origins

Them’s Fighting Words

We have to thank wars and conflict for many of the popular words in our language today. During occupations our soldiers pick up slang; while fighting with another culture, we learn more about it and assimilate its words (quite the opposite of politicians’ intentions, I think). World War II boo[...]

September 18th, 2009 - 6:55 am § in etymology, mysteries of english, old english, vocabulary, words of the day

Words of the Day (9/18)

Every Friday I post a few of my favorite etymologies and vocab words. Check out all my Words of the Day posts HERE. Etymologies: Avocado: (noun. A pear-shaped fruit with a rough leathery skin, smooth oily flesh, and a large stone.) The Aztecs first called this fruit the ahucatl (testicle). It was c[...]

September 17th, 2009 - 10:19 am § in language evolution, old english

Language Transformation

People evolve. Technology evolves. Art evolves. And language certainly evolves. This is a tricky topic. There are pundits who criticize speech as being riddled with “errors” and “incorrect grammar”. I’m often one of them. We say people are lazy or uneducated if they can[...]

September 16th, 2009 - 12:22 pm § in language learning

Why is English so popular?

Why do so many people learn English as a second language? Is it easy? No. English is one of the most complex languages to learn. It’s not a very logical language. Our spelling system is crazy and so is our (very irregular) grammar. It’s not considered the most beautiful language, either.[...]

September 15th, 2009 - 12:21 pm § in etymology, names, word formation, word origins

Our Personal Names

We all feel very attached to and protective of our names. I hate it when someone misspells or mispronounces mine. It’s MY name! And I’ve been called by that name (and various nicknames) for 23 years exactly (it’s my birthday). In English we usually have 3 names – the first na[...]